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Tell the Minneapolis Star Tribune: Don’t promote climate change denial

by The Big E on October 29, 2013 · 14 comments

stop_denying_global_warmingThe LA Times recently instituted a policy change: they no longer print letters to the editor from climate change deniers. The LA Times believes that peer-reviewed work by established scientists have overwhelmingly proven that our planet is warming and this is leading to significant climate change.

And those scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change. Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a body made up of the world’s top climate scientists — said it was 95% certain that we fossil-fuel-burning humans are driving global warming. The debate right now isn’t whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us.

The LA Times started this and I think that the Minneapolis Star Tribune should join them.
As recently as October 22nd, the Strib printed a letter from a climate denier crank from California.
On October 14th, they published an op-ed by former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson. Gerson isn’t exactly a denier, instead he’s trying to vilify the messengers and, via ad hominem attacks, show that climate change and global warming are not believable.
Generally, the Strib allows Republicans to tell any old lie they want to on their editorial page. But it’s time to tell them to put an end to the anti-science malarkey the climate deniers want printed.
Please sign the petition asking the Minneapolis Star Tribune to join the LA Times in no longer publishing climate denier letters:

This is really that critical because our news media enable the climate deniers:

Half Of Print Outlets Used False Balance On Existence Of Manmade Warming. Surveys have shown that 97 percent of peer-reviewed literature and climate scientists accept that human activities are a major factor causing global warming — only 3 percent do not accept this consensus position. Yet doubters comprised over 18 percent of those quoted by Bloomberg News, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post — giving this minority view over five times the amount of representation it has in the scientific community. Half of those quoted in The Wall Street Journal were doubters, about 29 percent in Los Angeles Times, about 17 percent in The Washington Post and about 12 percent in Bloomberg News.

Dog Gone October 29, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I’m still amazed at the right wing nuts who still deny anthropogenic climate change/global warming.

I’m particularly dismayed by those who are well enough educated that they SHOULD know better. For some reason, they believe having a higher education allows them to disbelieve any science they don’t like. In chatting about this with a co-blogger, we noted that this kind of willful ignorance seems to be most virulent among engineers who hold conservative social and political views.

This in spite of the fact that the various professional societies, notably CAETS, which is the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences, which was founded (among other entities) by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering – which supports human-caused global warming.

So, I can believe the odd conservative engineer who operates at the every day level, OR I can believe the creme de la creme of the field, represented by the brightest and best educated engineers who have consistently produced and contributed at the highest level.

I know who I find more credible.

And let’s face it, most of the climate change deniers are also party to or subscribe to crank crackpot conspiracy theories of the most bizarre variety.

We already indulge those people far far too much. Time to stop humoring the crazy and the ignorant, including the willfully ignorant.

Eric Ferguson October 29, 2013 at 11:25 pm

You can’t be a denier if you don’t know the facts. We sometimes assume disbelief is ignorance, but it’s more likely people who know the basic facts but refuse to believe them. It’s why more information doesn’t change opinions.

Camana October 30, 2013 at 10:26 am

Will this same standards be applied to the “Fanatics Of The Apocalypse” that show up making unscientific claims that the world is going to end if we don’t halt carbon emissions immediately? Such people never know the science and are never able to provide a scientific source for their belief so they too must be moderated.

How will the paper determine good scientifically based comments from denier information. I’ve seen people call others deniers when they couldn’t even ascertain the difference between causality and correlation regarding ice melt. All the consensus scientific data in the world pointing to a less than 1% chance that Greenland ice could reach a tipping point, didn’t dissuade them that I was a denier and the glaciers were going to all collapse. Even scientific peer review referees get it wrong, that’s why they have three or more involved. Who is qualified to referee climate comments at the Star?

Dan Burns October 30, 2013 at 10:46 am

I approved this comment because a good point is made about some on the left not being as knowledgeable about the science as they should be, either. However, the claim about the Greenland ice sheet is false.

Camana October 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Dan, since you think Climate Central is a good source read this to better understand where my view comes from.

Your Freidman link is in regard to ice albedo effects which is easily fixed but for some reason has been ignored. Visit NASA climate scientist Drew Shindell for albedo studies and why Shindell believes Arctic ice melt can be reversed in less than 5 years.

I am familiar with and I have had exchanges with Dr. Jason Box directly on his blog on other matters and I respect him. Jason was not part of a much larger research project on Greenland which is reviewed in my link and is new discovery about Greenland that has not been widely shared outside of climate research circles. Andy Revkin covered it too and pulled in the study authors as as well as other ice experts like Jason Box, Jay Zwally and Richard Alley for discussion on the Greenland research.

In addition to the study in my link above I suggest you read IPCC AR5 WG1 Scientific Summary as they do cover the science on glacier tipping points.

Lastly go talk to climate scientist Tamsin Edwards at her blog about her study on glacial slippage and why she has also ruled a tipping point for Greenland. In fairness this is all very new and my current view is new based on more recent scientific studies. Jason Box just learned of the Greenland work linked above earlier this year. BTW I just read Jason’s latest study on Greenland contribution to sea level rise which I also recommend.

My comment here further illustrates my concern about who is qualified to moderate comments when most of the science is unknown to most papers and blogs. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to exchange with you.

Camana October 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Dan one last thought. Michael Schlesinger has new work out representative of a growing group of climate scientists using a new methodology of calculating climate sensitivity and based on in situ data. I have always preferred in situ measurement, that is my bias. The earlier Climate Central article I linked mentioned future projections of warming and the ranges of warming mentioned are being disputed by the scientists using this new in situ application so that has yet to all play out. The IPCC WG1, which does not use in situ data, has increased the range of climate sensitivity by expanding the lower end range. They also have increased the unlikelihood of warming beyond 4c degrees with a doubling of CO2. As the in situ data increases in resolution there may be a change in the climate sensitivity calculation.

All this will impact Antarctic modeling and that is why I felt you should at least be aware.

Otter October 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Just out of curiosity, will you be hiring a climate scientist, so that you can correctly determine what is ‘consensus,’ and what is ‘skeptic’? I ask this because I have never heard of a single person with any education in this matter, who denies that the climate always has and always will be changing.

Dog Gone October 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Do you see this as really a necessity, given we can see the difference in the correlation between green house gasses and the increased rate of change?

Skeptics deny both change, or claim change in the opposite direction (claiming cooling), or deny the causal correlation of the rate of change.

I just don’t see any necessity for hiring a climate scientist to establish what is already clear. That is specious.

Eric Ferguson October 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Hey, the deniers are coming around! Well, that was inevitable. I bet not just anyone with education in the matter, but also anyone without, would grant that climate changes. I bet they would also acknowledge that the sky is blue and water is wet. I guess because we’ve always had water around, floods aren’t real.

Norman Page October 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm

There has been no net warming since 1997 with CO2 up 8%. The earth has been in a slight cooling trend since about 2003 , this trend will likely continue for another 20 years and perhaps for centuries beyond that. For an estimate of the timing and amount of the coming cooling see
The links to the supporting data for the above statements are provided in the piece.
Surely any reputable paper should encourage discussion of climate change when based on the data – and let its readers make up their own minds rather than simply rely on supposed expert opinion and authority.

Dog Gone October 31, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Norm, you are wrong. There has been steady warming for 150 years.

Your ‘common snse climate science ‘ is junk science. Therefore NO, newspapers should NOT give space to garbage that is factually inaccurate. The science on this is overwhelming, well-documented, verified, peer reviewed and critiqued, and supported by pretty much all of the academies of science world wide, as well as a long list of other scientific organizations, and academia.

So, unless you can come up with better data, with reliable data, NO, there is NO GOOD REASON to give this crap space in any news media anywhere.

Dan November 1, 2013 at 11:37 am

Never fear, uninformed/misinformed idiots will always show up in the comments no matter what you write about climate change.

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